Church of the Dead – Church of the Dead
Reviewed: October 2020
Released: 2020, Stay Heavy Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
I was a huge fan of Church of the Dead’s collection of EPs from a few years back. Spread across 5 volumes between 2013 and 2015, the Helsinki based outfit absolutely nailed it with some of the best OSDM to come out of that region in ages. And then…nothing. Fast forward 5 years and a new vocalist later, and Church of the Dead have officially unleashed their proper debut full length, CHURCH OF THE DEAD. And DAMMIT MAN, is it good to have them back.
There are bands that play Old School Death Metal who are content to just rehash nostalgic tropes, and there are those who can summon the spirit of that era and turn it into something new and exciting. Church of the Dead fall into the latter category, successfully summoning the elder gods and crafting an album’s worth of horror infused classic death metal godliness.
To be fair, half of the album consists of repurposed tunes plucked from previous EP releases, but they sound worlds apart from their original incarnations. With meatier production values and the benefit of Jussi Salminenthe’s throat incinerating growl, tracks like “Something Came Out of the Woods” and “The Reckoning” come across as exponentially heavier versions of their past selves. And matched against legit new tracks like “Coffincraft” and “Rat King – The Bringer of Plauge” (okay, that was released as a teaser single last year), the cumulative album is a friggin’ sonic bloodbath in the best possible sense.
If albums like THE GRAND LEVELLER, CLANDESTINE, DEATH SHALL RISE, INTO THE GRAVE are still readily handy in your iTunes collection or CD shelf, CHURCH OF THE DEAD is a necessary addition to that list. Chock full of gloriously gory good stuff, it’s albums like this that make this year a little bit less of a dumpster fire.